Child marriage is illegal in India, according to the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006. But that doesn't meant the practice has come to an end in India.
After Bihar, Rajasthan is the state notorious for its lax laws on child marriage and a shocking proof of it has emerged in the form of a video, which shows a mass child wedding ceremony being organised in Chittorgarh, the Daily Mail reports.
In the undated video, it's heartbreaking to see 5-6 year-old girls cry inconsolably as they are being forced to marry minor 'grooms' by their families. Dressed in colourful bridal clothes, the reluctance of these girls is clearly visible as they are dragged around for the customary saat pheras by their parents. All they can do is sob and plead for help, but to no avail.
According to the report, six marriages took place in two days around the Akshaya Tritiya, a Hindu festival believed to be auspicious for child marriages in rural India.
After the footage was released, the police has sprung into action and has registered a case against several families that forced their children to get married. However, all of them are reportedly currently on the run and in hiding.
Rajasthan has the second highest number of child marriage in the country, and is led by Bihar.
But there are more disturbing statistics:
- According to a UNICEF report, India is home to a third of the world’s child brides. About half of India's women are married before they turned 18 ( which greatly threatens their physical growth and emotional development)
- In states, such as in Bihar and Rajasthan, approximately 60 per cent of females (aged 20-24) are married off as children.
- Over half of Rajasthan's girls were married before attaining age of 18. According to the 2011 Census, 15.6% of the girls in Rajasthan were married off between the age of 10 and 19 years.